Sunday, October 10, 2010
When I was a little girl, we lived in the "country" about 20 minutes from the "big city". We'd drive down the gravel roads and everyone we'd come in contact with would wave at us as we drove by. No, we didn't know those people ... it was just the friendly, Southern thing to do.
If you're from the South, when someone asks you if you want a Coke, and you reply yes, they'll usually say, "We've got Dr. Pepper, Sprite, or Pepsi. Which do you want?" And that's not strange. Coke refers to all kinds of pop. And folks from the South LOVE their biscuits and sausage gravy and corn grits (I like mine with cheese, please!). We're also partial to ice-cold sweetened tea -- and it doesn't have to be a hot day to enjoy it.
Or how about when someone from a different region of the US comes to visit, and they are enthralled with our accents? I had a man tell me once that he absolutely could NOT understand how I could make "man" in to a two-syllable word ... and in the next breath, he said he loved my Okie twang. He told me to ask his wife what time it was, and then would just laugh his head off at the way I drawled out the word "time". I take great pride in the way we speak here. Some folks may think it sounds hick or backwoods, but I seriously love it. We roll down a winda in the car ... we're fixin' to go to the store ... we get tuckered out ... and, we have dawgs that live in our house. The best Southern term, though, is our famous "ya'll" (although some spell it "y'all"; regardless of spelling, it still means the same thing). We Southern folk are experts at chopping words up and smushing them together to create our own unique language. Examples: like-at (like that), like-iss (like this), yaunt to (you want to), goff (get off), and whatcha (what do you). See! We're creative!
Our names are often uniquely Southern, too. If you're from this area, I'm willing to bet you know of at least one girl with the middle name of Jo, and she'll often go by both names (Laurie Jo) ... and don't forget the middle name of Lou or Sue, again used with the first name most of the time. My aunt (Sheri Lou) and my mother (Tomi Sue) have about as southern a name as you can get. And it's the same for guys in the South as well. There's Jim Bob (yes, I actually knew a few), Icky Dale (I promise!), and John David. My father-in-law is Bert Ray, and his family called him that for a long time.
What I love about the South the most are the people. We're friendly! We smile at folks in the stores. We make eye contact as we're walking down the street. We hold doors for each other. While waiting at a stop sign, men drivers will wait and let the lady drivers go first. It's not unusual to be called "ma'am" or "sir". Being polite is looked upon highly.
Above all, Southern people tend to have a strong faith in God and a deep attachment to family. I think those two characteristics are the sweetest things to me about Southern folk. Roots grow deep here, and lasting connections are valued.
I'm sure it's wonderful living in other parts of the US, too. Since I've only lived in the South all of my life, I'm sure that's why I'm partial to it. But it seems to me, when you're content where you are, and it's pretty wonderful ... well, no use messing with what works, right?